A new report claims that Google will release a web client for its popular video calling service Duo within the next few weeks. The web version of Duo will work not only for the search giant’s own Chrome browser, but it is also compatible with other popular web browsers like Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari. While there is little information available about the features of Duo’s web client, it's likely to utilize browser notifications to alert users about incoming calls. It may also include the “Knock Knock” feature which allows users to see a preview of the caller before they answer the call, and the ability to leave video messages just in case a user does not pick up the call.
Before Google rolls out the web client for Duo, the search giant will have to sort out how to connect people’s accounts with the web version of its video calling service. It's a given that the tech firm will allow people to use their existing Google accounts to authenticate themselves and could also resort to QR codes when it comes to a way of connecting their smartphone apps to the browser version of the service, much like it already did with Allo and Android Messages.
Duo launched at Google I/O 2016 alongside another messaging service called Allo. Unlike Allo, which Google will shut down in a matter of months, Duo is considerably more successful, with the application already being present on over a billion active devices, as per Google's own data. Aside from Android smartphones, the video calling service is also available on iOS handsets, Android tablets, Smart Displays, and several Chromebooks.
Aside from making Duo available to more users and devices, the search giant is also improving its service by introducing more useful features. Last month, Google announced that it will now allow users to send video messages to other users on Duo. Before the tech firm rolled out this feature, users can only leave video messages when the person they are reaching did not pick up their call. Meanwhile, another report released earlier this month states that the new group calling feature of Google Duo is already in limited testing. Based on recent reports, the group calling functionality is limited to seven callers and Duo does not allow users to add people after starting a video call. Google is also testing a new low-light mode on Duo, which alerts the person when there is not enough illumination for other individuals to properly see the user. Justin Uberti, the lead engineer for Duo, also hinted that other features will also come to the video calling service, including integration with the Google Assistant.
Even though Duo is already present on more than a billion devices, that is not a clear indication of how many people use the service given that the application comes pre-installed on many Android devices. Nonetheless, launching a web client for Duo will help Google reach a larger audience, and it may also encourage other individuals to try the search giant’s video calling service. The potential reach Google might add with the move could still be limited by the fact Allo for browsers won't work without a mobile app, as is the case with the web implementation of Allo.